Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

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Reviews: 1,835 | Ratings: 8,069
Photo of Pahn
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Thanks to fellow BA morningthief for the bottle.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch, foamy, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Pours a semi-translucent dark red brown, with what appears to be some small bits of sediment. Leaves small, occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: Strong bourbon, vanilla and coconut. Chocolaty, with a little dark fruit (date) aroma along with the sweet maltiness and oak/bourbon. Good.

Taste: Follows the nose, but somehow it's so mild and smooth. It reminds me of Bourbon County Stout, not in that they taste remotely similar but in how perfectly the influence of barrel aging is integrated with the rest of the beer. There's very clear flavors of bourbon and oak, along with some chocolate and sweet, creamy malt flavors. Gets hot for a second, but stops leaving very little aftertaste.

The flavor is not very complex, but what's there is excellent. Tempted to give it a 4~ for being a little simplistic and not providing a long, warming and satisfying aftertaste, but also tempted to give it a 5 for how it perfects the balance of big malty scotch ale with bourbon and oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Creamy, but not very. Could stand to be fuller bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Almost too easy to drink. Alcohol catches up on you, and the glass empties fast.

Backwoods Bastard is a very enjoyable beer. It simultaneously gives a tutorial as to why people age beer in bourbon barrels, and a benchmark against which one can measure the success of other barrel aged beers. Worth the large pricetag (around $15~ per 4pack if I'm not mistaken).

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to weeare138 for this growler shared with tenderbranson69, consumed from a duvel tulip.

A dark ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick beige cap which leaves a film of spotty lace and settles to a ring of fine beads. The smell is loaded with lots of wood and caramel w/ vanilla and bourbon providing a strong ester and slight spice w/ gentle alcohol indicating a high gravity brew awaits. The smell has light maple and nutty toffee accents in the mix. The feel is thick and rich w/ substantial strength apparent w/ mildly sweet texture and semi-high bitterness w/ a lot of astringency. The alcohol has a slight drying effect as it finishes w/ moderate roastiness.

The flavor of the Scotch ale is strong and rich with a toffee quality w/ pine from the hops and lots of vanilla from the barrel. The taste is nutty with earthy flavor and mild woody taste like a vanilla toffee spice with a moderately strong bourbon flavor. There is a bitter presence that dominates w/ a caramel candy and bitter presence w/ more sweetness evident in the taste as it warms. I was overjoyed when Mike offered this growler to me -A wonderful oak and bourbon element presents itself so well w/ lots of roasted and candy-like notes yet strength is high in the flavor and feel. It fits the style well and has exceptional drinkability in my opinion. I was truly grateful for the gift -I almost drank a whole growler save for 2 pints.

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Photo of SASN
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A : very nice dark brown with a golden tint with a small amount of head

S: caramel and bourbon-milder bourbon aroma than I would have guessed

T: excellent, smooth, with a very well balanced amount of bourbon with a trace of caramel like sweetness

M: again, smooth with a medium body

D: you can have more than one but eventually the alcohol will limit you

Conclusion: one of my favorite beers

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Photo of Pellinore1
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep, cloudy amber, with about a finger of tan head.

Powerful nose of oak and bourbon, with a bit of fruit as well.

The smell does not lie. This beer starts with flavors of bourbon and wood aging, and follows with vanilla, caramel, a bit of fruit, and alcohol warmth at the end.

Smooth and thick, this is pleasant to drink. The alcohol is clearly there, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of AllFineThings
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a coppery dark dark red hue to almost black, but not quite there and the head comforms to a whisp that lingers.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, and raisins.

Sweet bourbon and beer, delicious!

Medium to heavy and just right.

An excellent winter warmer that is good from start to finish!

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Photo of afksports
3.23/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This bastard was the best looking thing in the bar, so I'm sippin it in.

That said, I'm tired of drinking bourbon beers. It's almost like soup - choose what you are! Solid or liquid!

This bastard smells sweet, caramel, bourbon. Can't detct the bitter. Dark dark amber. Deep. Normal lacing, quickly fading head that sustains.

Taste follows nose. Sweet, bourbon, caramel, malts. Tons of them. It overshoots and misses the mark, IMO. But maybe I'm not suited for a "wee heavy" style scotch strong ale like this one.

Maybe I'm a lightweight low abv smooth drinking bastards. Not from the backwoods. Still well made though. Can never deny Founders that. Cheers!

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Photo of jmacpher
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This is a great beer! So great that I bought 11 packs when it released in late fall.

It pours a deep copper red with very little head that disappears quickly. It has an incredible smell to it, vanilla and bourbon are the dominant aromas here.

The taste is even better, very deep vanilla and bourbon taste with a bit of bready, yeasty taste. The finish is dry with a lingering vanilla aftertaste. The warming sensation of the alcohol sticks with you, although it's extremely well hidden for a 10 percenter.

This is an all-time favorite! I just wish it wasn't a once-a-year release!

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Photo of wfrigsby
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy, unfiltered. Dark brown honey appearance. Makes one anticipate a serious, full-bodied brew.

Smell: Initially caramel/toffee aromas, along with oak, bourbon and a hind of scotch-like smoke. The longer it opened up, however, the more submerged these aromas were by a rather strong alcoholic nose.

Taste/Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Really enjoyed it. The flavors tracked the initial nose, not the later more alcoholic aromatic shift. Got hints of coconut as well as toffee, oak and scotch. Bourbon element was nicely balanced, not overpowering as in some ales (though I really like good bourbon). Nice medium/heavy volume. Extremely drinkable, though you would not want several in a row. Nice for sipping.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clayish brown, little amount of head, nice lacing.

S - powerful barrel, bourbon, smoked peat, mild sweet, alcohol.

T - bourbon, vanilla up front, boozy, with smoky smooth bitter finish.

M - med. body, with low-med carbonation almost feels like beer in scotch form.

D - This powerful beast is a SERIOUS sipper and not for everyone. I would like to have another and perhaps age it.
This is still a must try, come on now, it's Founders!

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Photo of InsolublePancake
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a beautiful deep garnet with a nice half-inch of light tan head. The only thing is there seem to be quite a few, um, "floaties" in the beer. I'm pretty sure it's the most recent batch of the beer and I literally just washed out the glass, so I don't know where these came from. I guess just sediment or something? Who knows. Anyway, it's not that big of a deal, but it does impact the appearance slightly.

S- Majorly bourbony. Big time oak, vanilla, and bourbon aromas leap out at first. In fact, it's tough to dig past all of those to find the malt, which is most certainly there with a syrupy caramel character but struggles to compete with the bourbon. I'm not complaining, though.

T- Sweet malt upfront segues into a big bourbon character before suddenly going dry and oaky. Finishes quite dry and woody with a rather strong dose of bitterness that seems a bit out of place.

M- Medium-bodied, which is actually a bit thinner than I would like for a big beer like this. Carbonation is rather low, which is appropriate.

D- It's fairly rich, although not overly so. The alcohol and perhaps the bitterness are what's holding this beer back in drinkability. As a sipper it's not bad.

An interesting stab at an oak-aged Scotch ale. It seems, though, that the bourbon character overwhelms the other flavors (and aromas) at times. It's still very good; I'd just like a little more Scotch ale flavor to come through. Recommended, but steer clear if you don't like bourbon.

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Photo of seeswo
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours minimal head and smells of booze...not really sure what I am going to be getting myself into. Holy cow! This is insanely good. Words come to mind are creamy, boozy, vanilla, a bit smoky. Trying this fresh, I know it is going to be even better in 6 months. While huge, strong in flavor and boozy, it still seems to have this odd balance. The booziness is not offensive like it often can be, and seems to meld well with smoke and malt.

I bought one 4'er and then immediately bought 3 more, with the intent of aging some. So, I guess you can imagine how I feel about it.

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Photo of crossovert
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown stubby bottle. 2010 vintage.

It pours an extremely deep and dark plum color. Just sitting there it looks black. The head is thick and tightly foamed and has a bit of creaminess. It is off-white and sticks for a nice while before receding with some nice lacing.

The bourbon and oak dominate the smell, though you can smell traces of the scotch ale underneath. It has a subtle fruitiness that provides a bit of freshness to the tried and true bourbon oak scent.

The flavor is very smooth and nice. It has a rich flavor of buttery toffee that meshes very nicely with the bourbon. There are notes of vanilla and milk chocolate caramel as well. The 50 IBUs are nice and keep this one pretty balanced. The bitterness is slightly tannic with a good deal of woodiness, hops, and a slight roasty bitterness. the fruitiness isn't as pronounced in the taste, but there is a nice bit of prune underneath it all that adds an extra layer of depth.

The mouthfeel is rich and full-bodied with an exquisite carbonation. It has an alcohoic punch but it isn't overt.

After having Dirty Bastard I didn't think this one would be this good, but this is exquisite.

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Photo of stawn
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into my Bruery tulip. Thanks to BucketBoy for this one!

A - Pours a muddy brown with a small head that vanishes as quick as it forms.

S - A little cold when poured, so I'm not getting much aroma. Some subtle caramel notes in the background...will revisit once it warms.
More dark malty scents emerge as this comes to temperature.

T - Smooth creamy toffee. Wow, this is fantastic. Alcohol is well hidden in this 10+% beast. Each sip intrigues me as this mellifluous fluid dances across my palate. Vanilla and bourbon definitely make their presence known.

M - Low carbonation but works very well for the style. Silky mouthfeel, quite the pleasure to drink.

D - Off the charts. Probably the smoothest Wee Heavy I've had. The barrel aging in this beauty was masterfully crafted. I highly recommend getting your hands on some of this goodness!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Heavy looking and dully lit crimson rust hue. A small lift of dark beige foam appears briefly before sliding to a thin collar and a few spots and globs of lace stick to the glass.

Deeply dark, wafty, and sweet of bourbony thick maple syrup and brown sugar dashed with cinnamon and vanilla. Quite breakfasty...hmmm...a medley of CBS and Old Crum?

Excellent taster! Lots of yummy oily, greasy, thick play of malts and warmth. Deep dark bourbon soaked caramel oatmeal bread smoothered in maple syrup makes a huge core of malt to drench the palate. Nice little touches to cinnamon, vanilla, peet, and tobacco. Really diggin' the bourbon aspects and malt complexity mixing with the spices. Amazingly yummy stuff!

Thick, smooth, chewy, warm, oily body of malt laden perfection. Ecellent additions of dark bakery spices mingle about with a nice tone over the maple bourbony center. It really sinks in from first sip to the dizzying last. Yum!

Backwoods Bastard is some damn yummy stuff! Founders astounds with this one. If there is a bastard who lives in the backwoods somewhere in Michigan, probably the U.P., this would be what's for breakfast.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

105th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12oz bottle

Thanks CosmoHopHead for the gift!

App- A dark brown with not very much head and not much for swirl marks either.

Smell- A nice oaky boozy with hints of dark fruits (raisin, fig) some light vanilla and the bourbon of course.

Taste- I get the use of the Scotch ale. This does not drink like a beer. Such a fine and superb taste. I really enjoyed it.

Mouth- A bit less than a full mouthfeel with a nice low carb to give a nice beer.

Drink- I have one. I want more.

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Photo of bwan15
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours dark as freshly-oiled walnut. It glows golden-brown around the edges, and darkens to a muddy opacity at the center. What little head there was at the beginning has all but dispersed over a few minutes.

Smell: Boozy almond and vanilla with a woody bottom.

Taste: Flourishes of bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and butterscotch are woven lovingly into a sweet, woody core of malt. Hops are too inebriated by the sweet booze to make much of a stand in the way of bitterness. There may be undertones of fruit somewhere in there, but they are well-hidden. My only complaint is there are occasionally hints of rotten almond dragging the bottom down. Walks a thin line between balanced and off-kilter, and for the most part, pulls it off.

Mouthfeel: Thick and luscious. Coats the mouth and warms the throat with hot alcohol and a sweet, earthy aftertaste.

Drinkability: I could probably drink two of these in a row before I felt compelled to call it a night. This is a big beer and it drinks like a dessert. The boozy fumes are powerful but not overwhelming. Definitely one to sip and enjoy the nuances and subtleties.

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Photo of AScribjr
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is not for your everyday beer drinker...This beer pours like the red seas...And the aroma of this beer opens up the bourbon barrel. the first sip is a full mouth of delight.But the way it makes you feel is the best.It is to bad thiss beer is very limited...thank-you Founder

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Photo of zhanson88
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Backwoods Bastard pours a dark brown color with deep ruby highlights. About a finger of light tan head reduces down to very little lacing.

Smell: Pretty malty with a bunch of scotch flavor along with slight dark fruits and molasses.

Taste: Very malty, with some dark fruits, oakiness, and scotch flavor. Possibly some floral hops on the back end, just slightly bitter. A very unique and tasty flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied and smooth drinking without a lot of carbonation. Very nice. Despite The nice flavors and feel of this beer, I find it very hard to put more than one down at a time. The scotch flavor and maltiness is great for one beer, but overstays its welcome after that.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby with a pinky's worth  of light tan head.  Smells smokey, malty and boozy, a lot of smokiness.  Tastes pretty much exactly like it smells, boozy, oaky and smoky. Damn good beer! Mouthfeel is good, low carbonation, but thick enough, and drinkability is high, at least for me it is. An outstanding beer, but if smoke flavor isn't your thing, avoid this brew.

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Photo of wchollif
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark carmel color, can still see through the glass. Very little head but a bit more carbonation that expected. The smell is bourbon and alcohol, some sweetness to the nose. The flavor has maple syrup and vanilla notes with a good dose afftertaste bitterness. Mouthefeel is a bit thin for me. I'm not sure I could get through another one of these at %10, but it's a great 12oz. after dinner beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to snifter.

A: Light to very opaque brown in color with nice lacing and very small head.

S: Molassas malts with the magic founders bourbon edge with notes of peat, dark fruit, raisins and dates.

T: Nice bourbon to malt ratio in this beer. Huge bitters in the back of the palate. Caramel, dark fruits and a pecan nut flavor come through as well. A little sickly sweet at times for me.

M: Thinner than expected on the feel and sort of hot and heavy (of you will).

D: This beer is quite hard to get through as a bottle, its tasty but gets a little old as you go through it. this is a 12oz to share for sure.

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Photo of VMWhelan
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brownish color that appears more of a reddish-brown when held up to light. Thin head that dissapates within about a minute and leaves some nice lacing the whole time.

S: Wow, you can really smell the bourbon in this one. Also smells of oak, molassas and even some dark fruit in there such as raisin.

T: Mostly malty and nutty. The bourbon is very prevalent as well, a little more so than I really would like in the taste. A little boozy going down.

M: Medium to thick; creamy.

D: For the 10% ABV, this one goes down suprisingly easy. While it is definitely an excellent beer, I'm not sure if I could see myself drinking more than one of these in a night, the molasses gets a little tiring.

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Photo of fastpass17
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Brown Bottle

A: Mahogany in color, medium carbonation, 1 finger head sticks to the side of the glass.

S: Bourbon, molasses, burnt caramel, raisins, and vanilla to round it out.

T: Vanilla, caramel malt, oak, bourbon, nutmeg. Creaminess is present throughout. This is what I expect out of a wee heavy.

M: Light carbonation slightly still, alcohol hotness is present.

D: After dinner drink, or one or two with a book when its cold outside.

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Photo of jayt206
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: As soon as I finished the pour, the first color that came to mind was Burnt Sienna (thanks, Crayola.) The pour yielded a two finger head, which formed a solid, cream colored curtain as it died down.

S: Heavy amounts of vanilla, followed by bourbon and a hint of fruit (sweet raisins and cherries.)

T: Bourbon dominates initially. A rich malty sweetness follows to help mellow the bourbon. Vanilla and fruit (aforementioned raisins and cherries) make an appearance at the end.

M: Medium body. Definitely some heat from the alcohol, yet still smooth with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, despite the ABV. A great brew to sit back and finish off the weekend with. I only tried 1/4 from the pack, as I am interested to see how it cellars.

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Photo of drizzam
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, murky brown in color like some skanky swamp water. Not much of a head, just some thin off-white bubbly murk. Very little spotty lacing. The look of this brew is very befitting the name.

S - As soon as I poured this brew, I could smell bourbon just pouring from it! Serious bourbon. I haven't smelled a beer this Bourbonny in my beer drinking experience. There are also some sweetish caramel notes and it seems like you can almost smell the oak.

T & M - Very boozy tasting...the bourbon is a huge component in this one. You can certainly pick up the oak notes and that same sort of caramel malt touch in it, but the bourbon is center stage in this production. Seems maybe a bit lacking in body, a bit thin. What it lacks in body is made up in smoothness though. This is a silky smooth bourbon brew that ends with that alcoholic snap at the end.

D - If you like bourbon barrel brews, you'll fall in love with this as soon as you pry the cap off the bottle. You do have to appreciate bourbon to be able to drink more than one in a sitting though. All in all, Founders did not let me down here. This is a very solid brew and well worth the try.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,069 ratings.
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